Next Stop…SleepyTown

A positive from the recent psychiatrist’s assessment was her suggestion to make use of sedatives to deal with nighttime anxiety.  I’d been offered a ‘sample pack’ during the ill-fated attempt to see a psychiatrist of my very own.  I tried this medication a couple of times and fell down like I’d been shot with a dart.  Problem was, I couldn’t get out of the fog until the next afternoon.  That’s quite impractical with a child on your own.  Also, I really did not like the feeling of being in a virtual coma.

Photo credit here

I want to stop the extreme anxiety and on many days I have considered any way to shut my brain up – but I want to be able to stand up.  The psychiatrist who assessed me told me that this medication would quickly have less of an effect within a few days as the body gets used to it.  In my personal experience psychiatrists are pretty keen prescribers so I didn’t necessarily buy her spin but I had been assessed by her before and she’s the only one who’s struck me as even slightly in tune with me as the patient.  Because you can certainly tell when a doctor is not!

I’ve been taking half a tablet a night, about 8pm-ish, and by 9pm I curl up in bed in a delicious marshmallowy comfort.  It’s been just a fortnight and I don’t plan to be a long-termer.  I am surprised at the difference in my sleep, and how little I have been surviving on until now.  Or how poor the quality.

Now when I go to bed I don’t scroll through twitter or play word games on my phone until my eyes close.  I don’t wake up in the middle of the night.  I do wake up if my child needs me.  I would rather sleep in a little longer in the morning than he wants…but I can get up with a clear head.  These are all positives which you would recognise if you have ever tried something to help you sleep.  I am in a slightly better mood during the day, too.

I know I’m feeling better because I took my little man to the Zoo this week.  For the first time.  You know, where other people could SEE ME.  I have not been able to do that until now.  Not even close.  I am seriously proud of myself.  It was a big deal.

Guess which animal captivated my interest…

So now I can add experiencing the Zoo through your child’s eyes to my list of mini-cures.  I felt such happiness, which has eluded me for so long now, and for a couple of hours I was living in the moment.  It was so very lovely.

Another of my mini-cures is a bit more accidental.  Reading the words of someone who has experienced something similar to you, especially deeply personal and often negative feelings – that’s life changing.  I am a reading ADDICT so I have found a few things that have helped.  From text books to spiritual journals and very often, twitter 🙂  My latest find?  How I Got My Wiggle Back by Anthony Field.  Yep, the Blue Wiggle!

He’s already on my list of mini-cures with the rest of the band because a) I have a preschooler b) I have always wanted to be one of the hosts on Playschool c) Being a clown is super fun and d) I love everything to do with kids and their experience of the world.  Hence the teaching thing.  Plus there’s no way you could not love The Wiggles.  Even clinically depressed ex-teachers can rock out to those songs.  That’s some serious entertainment.  Do yourself a favour!

Dance like nobody’s watching…and hope like hell they’re not…

I had to go on a waiting list at the library to get my hands on the book if that is any indication of its popularity.  By page 40 I already had a tear in my eye.  It is very well written.  Anthony’s writing is tender and loving, self deprecating and cheeky.  And he explains his depression and battle to come out on top in a way that has you nodding your head with a sad smile.  Because they are the exact words you would use if you shared the feelings with someone.  I’m halfway through the book (just today) and I’m saving the rest because I don’t want it to end yet.

What has really struck a chord with me personally is two-fold.

On one hand, it seems we have similar personality types and er, quirks.  Shy, like to clown around and put on a show, and care passionately about children being nurtured, encouraged and supported to experience growing up with joy.  They way Anthony described his driving force to bring happiness through performance for families made me cry because it is at once both inspiring and painful; I wanted to be that person as a primary school teacher.  But instead I am writing here tonight.

On the other hand, he talks about the cycle of depression, self loathing and hopelessness than hounds you when you are fighting depression on a serious scale.  And I nodded along with that, too.  Reading the words from somebody else’s heart somehow lightens the load a little.  I’m not a freak and I’m not alone, because at least one person has felt that same darkness.  It is strangely comforting.  But he would know that – it’s why he’s sharing his story.  And why I’m telling mine.

The way Anthony’s book is written reminds me of another man I admire, one who helped me to seek help and go to the police.  Maybe it’s their similar approaches to life.  Jim Stynes.  They both come across to me as passionate, determined individuals.  They care deeply about their work, their ability to connect with kids.  They have both had their struggles and battled…well…themselves, really.  They have both shared some of that battle honestly – with us.  They’re not perfect and they are man enough to go there.  Because they both wanted to be the best men they could be.  For their families, for their role in kids’ lives.  And because that’s what life is for, isn’t it?  Striving to learn and try harder?  Use this chance at life?


Photo credit here

So, I am grateful for the brave, the passionate and the storytellers.  They make my path a little clearer, the journey less lonely.  It is an extraordinary thing to be able to change someone’s experience of life.  In related news: the library is my happy place.

I am grateful for lions (!), orangutans and seals.  I am grateful for smiles and feeling happy.

I am also grateful for resting my very busy mind.  So I’m going to make like Jeff Wiggle and go to sleep now.


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